Edo State has the potential to become a first world economy on account of its growth trajectory in the past seven years.
This was according to the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Alaghodaro Economic Summit Ltd/Gte, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and other guests at the 2023 Alaghodaro Investment Summit that ended yesterday.
They noted that on the back of nuanced reforms by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration over the period to attract investments and grow the State’s economy, the State has witnessed an economic boom of over 140 percent from $10.6 billion to $25.8 billion.
Ighodalo, who is also the Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, in his address at the summit, disclosed that the investments attracted through the Alaghodaro Summit alone in the past seven years is put at $4 billion, noting that the State can drag Nigeria out of its untapped potential, re-directing the nation to a point of development.
The Alaghodaro Summit is organised annually by the Edo State Government, in partnership with the private sector, to mark the anniversary of Governor Godwin Obaseki in office and showcase the progress being recorded in transforming the State into an investment haven.
This year’s summit has the theme, “The Edo Story: Creating Shared Opportunities into the Future.”
According to Ighodalo, “Over the past seven years, Edo State has grown 140 percent from an economy of $10.6 billion to $25.8 billion today, while Nigeria’s economy grew at 4 percent.
“Edo State can become a first world economy regardless of the challenges of Nigeria. The new investments attracted from new investors is put at $4 billion sourced from Nigeria and from joint partnerships as the State has the capacity and will.
“Edo State must set out at dawn to make progress and pull other parts of Nigeria and other regions up. We must continue to show in Edo that there is great hope for Nigeria through Edo State. The State can drag Nigeria out of its untapped potential, re-directing the nation to a point of development.”
He further noted, “Edo’s story tells us we are not a State that lacks the capacity to do well. The Alaghodaro phrase means progress, moving forward, and looking ahead as the word should be a challenge to us in Edo and the purpose of the summit is to set Edo on the path of growth and development.”
On his part, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said Edo State has comparative advantage over every other State in the area of agriculture and agro-processing as well as culture and tourism, noting that the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has repositioned the State, leveraging its comparative advantage to drive growth and development across all sectors.
Aliko, who was the keynote speaker at the 2023 Alaghodaro Investment Summit, commended the governor for his government’s business-friendly reforms that have continued to spur the influx of investors into the State.
Africa’s richest person, who was represented by the Dangote Group’s Managing Director, Mr. Olakunle Alake, said the safety and security as well as reforms in the agriculture and tourism sectors have repositioned Edo State as a tourist hub and investors’ haven.
He said, “Edo State has comparative advantage over every other State in the area of agriculture and agro-processing as well as tourism sectors.
“Investments are coming into Edo State because of the friendly environment created by the governor for investors and today, Edo has become an investment destination.
“The State boasts of tourist sites across various locations in the State and the State Government has taken advantage of it to turn the State into a tourism hub.”
Dangote said, “The ease of doing business in Edo State is the point of attraction for investors to invest in various locations as infrastructure plays a major role in ease of doing business in the State.
“The State is also secured and it has promoted many investors to invest in the State and this has gone a long way to grow the economy of Edo State.”
Earlier, the governor said his government has reengineered Edo State for growth and development in the past seven years and consciously laid a solid foundation for the State’s future.
Obaseki noted that the government focused on six thematic pillars including institutional reforms, economic revolution, social welfare, infrastructure development, environmental sustainability and arts and culture, noting that the bold reforms have positively impacted the lives of millions of Edo people, placing the State on the path of sustainable and accelerated growth and development.
Governor Obaseki, who noted that Edo has the potential to produce 70 percent of Nigeria’s imported products and reduce the burden on Foreign Exchange (Forex), said his government has attracted investments in agriculture, manufacturing, retail, health, arts and culture, tourism and hospitality, among other sectors.
Noting that his government has delivered on promises made to Edo people, the governor said, “In the civil service, we have introduced a Computerized ERP System (E-Gov). We operate the highest paid Civil/Public Service in the Country and have set up a world-class training infrastructure at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy, trained over 6,000 Civil/Public servants, and delivered over 10,000 devices across the Service and delivered new infrastructure (workspace) to 76 MDAS in the State.”
According to the governor, “Since 2016, our monthly IGR collections have consistently increased as a testament to the conscious investments we have made into boosting our local economy. Our partnerships and popular ‘MOUs’ have set Edo on the path of financial sustainability. Projects like the Benin Port, and Enterprise Park, among others, will further impact the Internal Generated Revenue of the State for years